On Wednesday the 29th of April, it will be the official two year anniversary of my adventure starting The Secret Comedians at Paper Dress Vintage - an independent boutique paradise and sanctuary for eccentrics on Curtain Road, Shoreditch.
Throughout all the various places I have lived and worked in London since moving here in the winter of 2012, Paper Dress Vintage has always been a constant in my life. A place that I go to drink, shop, socialise and work. It is the place I always bring visiting friends to London to, to show them how 'cool' the city is. The reason? For me it is one of the most important venues in London. It embodies everything that I am proud about in this city: entrepeneurship, independence, eccentricity, creativity and community. From offering evening classes, a constant awesome line-up of events every night of the week and a calm haven for people to sit, drink and work during the day - Paper Dress Vintage is, to use a very vintage word, truly spiffing.
I still remember when I first discovered PDV in 2012... I wandered in to a free music gig that was taking place. The store was full of the most bold and beautiful people with daring and unique fashion. Everyone was socialising, the place was full of loud, sociable chaos and what stood out was how friendly and welcoming the team who ran the venue were as I entered this very 'cool' place. Despite how 'hipster' it could appear to someone new to East London, it was not pretentious, it felt neighbourly. Like stepping through your grandmother's wardrobe and landing in Narnia, if Narnia had been designed by vegans who liked graphic design, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and peroxide haircuts.
Since speaking across the crowded bar to Carla that night (the dream brunette bartender bombshell who now helps me set-up every month), I formed a lovely relationshp with Hannah & Stephen, the creators of Paper Dress Vintage, and all their lovely team, and the London home for The Secret Comedians was born.
We've had a brilliant time over these two years with super lineups. From sketch, characters, stand-up to a 'seance' held by the Story Beast one wintery night.... It's been an honour to compere each one and every audience - whether they have been large, small, weird, loud and quiet has always been perfectly wonderful.
Now, sadly, Paper Dress Vintage is closing. After 8 years on Curtain road Paper Dress's 'landlords have decided to build upwards and will be bringing in the bulldozers as they tear down 114-116 and make way for a shiny new building'.
This is sad news.
The Secret Comedians will be at Paper Dress Vintage until July, but that gives us only a short period time left to enjoy this creaitve paradise. Thus, to celebrate, I've curated a line-up of some of my favourite comedians on the circuit at the moment - from So You Think You're Funny Finalist Joe Hart, to Funny Women Finalist Samantha Baines, to alternative up & coming comedians such as Sam Dodgin, Gary Tro and Faye Treacy . The party will be on the 29th of April. Doors will be at 8pm and the show will start at 8.30pm. There will be cocktails, vintage music, lots of laughs and so much merryment.
If you are free, come and celebrate, not just great comedy, but a great venue.